ALVAREZ WING ‘VICTIMS’ WANT TO JOIN INDAY SARA’S HUGPONG
HNP GROWS IN STRENGTH AS DESERTION HOUNDS PDP/LABAN
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte local officials lured by ex-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to join the Alvarez Wing are sending ‘surrender feelers’ in a bid to join Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP).
This developed as the ranks of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bansa (PDP/Laban), of which recently ousted Alvarez is secretary general, suffers from dehydration with its members leaving the party in a massive exodus.
The Alvarez Wing, an independendent bloc inside PDP/Laban, was organized by Alvarez, before he was replaced as Speaker in a July 23 coup by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, as a local vehicle for his reelection in Davao del Norte’s First District congressional post in the 2019 mid-term elections.
Alvarez lured members primarily on the basis of his promise of millions of pesos in development funds if he remains the Speaker and wins his reelection in next year’s polls.
In the House of Representatives, the once ruling PDP/Laban has been downgraded to a minority party, as its members fled to join a new coalition supporting Speaker Arroyo.
With former Speaker now demoted to a mere minority member of the House, Alvarez Wing members are now doubting if he could deliver the goods.
And with Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, founder of HNP, saying her regional party would field candidates against Alvarez and the Alvarez Wing, Davao del Norte mayors and vice mayors aligned with Alvarez whose positions are at stake in the mid-term elections, want to avoid a head-on collision with bets of the powerhouse HNP.
There are feelers brokering their surrender, said an HNP insider, who asked anonymity.
Also waiting in the wings ready to raise the white flag in surrender and join HNP are barangay officials and plain citizens recruited by Alvarez into PDP/Laban, said the insider.
The insider said Inday Sara and the 4 Davao Region governors, the brains behind HNP, are yet to decide on whether or not to accept them as HNP members.
Since 2016 after being installed as Speaker, Alvarez embarked on a massive nationwide recruitment of members of PDP/Laban.
In Davao del Norte, he also organized the Alvarez Wing to shore up his reelection bid.
In a recent statement, despite the political setback —- his ouster as Speaker and the mass exodus out of PDP/Laban — Alvarez said he is still gunning for his reelection in May next year.
Inday Sara and her HNP may not be the only calvary that Alvarez has to hurdle to get a second term in the House. He has also estranged himself from his former political allies and benefactors, Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. and Governor Anthony del Rosario — the dominant figures in Davao del Norte’s political landscape. HNP reportedly is luring from retirement former governor and former congressman Rodolfo del Rosario, Anthony’s father, to contest the reelection of Alvarez.
Meanwhile, Inday Sara on Sunday, August 5, swore in as HNP members about 6,000 provincial, town and village officials in Davao del Norte.
She is scheduled to embark this week on a region-wide swing for oath taking ceremonies in Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao Occidental.
Inday Sara said HNP, although it is registered as a regional party, will extend its political muscles even outside of the Davao Region.
On August 13 in Manila, HNP will forge alliance with the groups of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. of Bohol, the Pineda’s of Pampanga, Quezon City Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Vicente Emano of Misamis Oriental and Frederick Jalosjos of the first district of Zamboanga del Norte.
Inday Sara, Governors Anthony Del Rosario of Davao Del Norte, Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental, Jayvee Tyron Uy of Compostela Valley and Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental will formally accept the local leaders and their local political groups.